December 29, 2010
NATURE OF VIOLENCE
Violence is a thing given to man by nature but it is not the nature of man. It is animal’s nature, it is the nature of beasts. Man has passed-travelled-through this nature and so has carried all the experiences – impressions of that animal life with him. Violence is like this: suppose a man is passing on a road and is covered with particles of dust and when he enters a palace, he refuses to remove those particles of dust saying they have come with me, they are a part of me. Those dust-particles are those things which have stuck on man’s soul while passing through an animal life.
They have become fixed but they are not the nature of man. Violence is natural far beasts, it is their nature because they have no choice in this matter. Violence is not natural for man because he has a choice in this matter. In fact, manhood to be human – begins with this choice. Manhood begins with this decision. Manhood begins with this resolve. Man is standing at the cross roads. All beasts are on a unidimensional road. They can therefore have no choice.
Man can become violent or nonviolent as he wishes. This is man’s freedom. Beasts haven’t got it. It is the helplessness of a beast. That is why there is no difference between the nature of beasts and the fact of being beasts. There is no distance between the future and the past of a beast. There is no difference in being a beast and in the possibility of what it can be. The beast is what it can be. That which is possible, is actual. There is no distinction between the actuality and possibility of beasts. The whole matter is different in the case of man.
Man can be different from what he is The actuality of man is not his possibility. He can be something else tomorrow from what he is really today. So we can’t tell any dog that you are something less of a dog, but we can tell a man, you appear to be something less of a man. To tell any dog that you are something less of a dog is completely an absurd statement. It doesn’t have any meaning. All dogs are complete dogs. There may be weak dogs, there may be strong ones also but there is no difference in their doghood. But there is a difference of degrees in manhood. We cannot tell any Krishna that there is no difference in manhood – gentlemanliness – between you and Hitler. We cannot tell any Buddha that there is no difference between you and Ravana. It so happens at times, That we have to say about someone, there is hardly any gentlemanliness in him, and we have to say about some other person that there is not much of humanity in him that he can be called divine-god.
Whenever we use the word God for some person, it means that there is so much humanity in them that it is found insufficient to call him man. What a man is, is not everything; much more can happen to him. There is a very great potentiality in him. His past is linked with his journey – through beasthood, that condition is that of
violence. And what he can be is his nonviolence.
The nature of man is that which it will be when it will evolve itself fully. The reality about man is what he has accumulated in his journey uptil now. That is why I say violence is acquired, nonviolence is the nature. So violence can be given up; but nonviolence can only be achieved, it cannot be given up. It is very necessary to understand this difference.
Every sinner has a future and every sinner has an opportunity to be a saint in future. We can tell every sinner honestly that he is a saint of the future. Every saint has a past and in every saint’s past is the past of a sinner. We can tell every saint honestly that you were a sinner in the past, but then the saint has no further future. The saint means one who has achieved his entire nature, he has now become what he could have become. The flower has bloomed fully. A bud has a future. If a bud wishes to be a flower, it can become a flower. So when we tell a bud that it is your nature to be a flower, it doesn’t mean we are talking of a fact, we simply talk of potentiality. When we tell a bud it is your nature to be a flower, it means, if you wish to be a flower, you can be a flower. Thus if man says violence is my nature, he is talking like the mistaken bud, which thinks that it can be a bud for ever. Violence is not the nature of man; it is the acquisition of his past, it is the impression of
his past. Violence is man’s conditioning which was unavoidable through the process of his evolution from beastly life. Beast is to be pardoned because violence is unavoidable in its life. Man cannot be pardoned, because violence is his choice; it is not inevitable when he chooses violence.
Violence is inevitable for beasts, it is a responsibility for man. It is a fact for beasts, for man it is merely a historical memory. It is the present for beasts, it is past for man. We have the choice in front of us. Man can take a decision to be nonviolent; he can take a decision to be violent also.
That is why when a certain person takes a decision to be violent, no beast can compete with him. Really, no beast can be as violent as a man can be, because a beast is violent by nature while man becomes violent by planning. So, even after a through search among beasts, we cannot get such violent beasts as Chengez Khan, or Taimur, or Nadir, or Hitler. If we consult the history of beasts and ask them if they had parallel examples they would reply, ’We are very poor in that, we do not have any memory – any record – in this matter.’ It is very interesting to know that no animal except man becomes atrocious towards its own fellow-members. No animal kills another animal of its class, does not commit violence towards it. This distinguishing feature is also there in the violence of animals.
Man is the only animal who kills other men. It is interesting to know that if an Indian wolf is left near a Pakistani wolf, it will not harm the other, but to keep an Indian near a Pakistani is full of danger. Language experts say this is perhaps due to difference in language. The opinion of the linguists seems to be true. They say, as both the wolves do not speak any language, the Pakistani wolf does not speak Urdu and the Indian wolf does not speak Hindi, so they do not know they are foreigners.
But man from one province becomes a foreigner in another province. Gujaratis are foreigners in Marathi province, the Hindi speaking people are foreigners to those speaking Tamil. If what the linguists say is correct and I feel there is truth in it, we shall be compelled one day to make man speechless – silent – so as to make him a human being. Perhaps it would be difficult to create humanity without being speechless in the world.
Man is rational only in the sense that he rationalizes his follies, he is not rational in any other sense. Aristotle definitely said Man is a rational animal but the history of man uptil now does not prove it. History has disproved Aristotle. Man seems intelligent only in one thing and it is this, he is trying to rationalize his follies. Even when he kills someone he rationalizes his action. He says I shall have to kill him because he is a Mohammedan; he is a Hindu, he is not an Indian, he is a Pakistani etc. As if it is a sufficient cause for being killed to be a Pakistani or enough to kill a person if he is a Mohammedan.
Man finds out a cause to kill, such as this man is rich, he should be killed, this man is a communist, he should be killed. When old causes become worthless, new ones are being found out. New causes prove that old ones have become useless, they are not to be used now. Let us find out new ones. Uptil now we have killed many Hindus and Muslims, let us now make Hindus and Jains quarrel. If we do not succeed in Hindu-Jain quarrels, let us start dividing them into the rich and the poor. Let us have a class-war. Thus when man wants to commit violence, to kill, he conveniently finds out causes.
Animals never kill without a cause. I am telling you this that if we understand violence of man we shall see that man becomes violent without any cause. So violence is his choice and that is why no animal can become as cruel and violent as man can be. To be violent is simply the nature of animals, it is not its choice, that is why there can be a Nadirshah and there can be a Mahavira among mankind. Nonviolence is not the choice of animals. But man has to make a choice of nonviolence.